Family Assault

What is Family Assault?

Family Assault is essentially the same as an Assault, except that it is committed by one family member or spouse against another. To be considered Family Assault or Domestic Violence as opposed to a typical assault, those involved must be living in the same home at the time of the offense.

What to do?

Family Assault cases are complex, and often there are many layers to the allegation. Although downplayed by the courts and prosecutors, a fair number of alleged assaults are fabricated or exaggerated, in an effort to gain advantage in a divorce, custody battle, or family law case. Likewise, immigration and asylum laws have increased the motive and benefit for false claims. A individual may be able to gain legal status or citizenship if found to be the victim of domestic violence. For these reasons, family assault cases can involve hotly contested legal litigation.

Protective Orders

Typically in a Family Assault case, the court will issue a restraining order between the accused and the alleged victim. Violation of a Court Order may result in additional criminal charges filed. This will make it very difficult if the accused has to leave his or her home. The protective order is also a hook that can catch an unwary person, causing additional charges to be filed. The alleged victim is not prohibited from contacting the defendant after a protective order is issued, but if the defendant responds, he or she may be charged with Violation of a Protective Order.


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Sec. 22.01(2). ASSAULT FAMILY VIOLENCE.

(a) A person commits an offense if the person: (1) intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, including the person's spouse; (2) intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the person's spouse; or (3) intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.

(2) a person whose relationship to or association with the defendant is described by Section 71.0021(b), 71.003, or 71.005, Family Code, if: (A) it is shown on the trial of the offense that the defendant has been previously convicted of an offense under this chapter, Chapter 19, or Section 20.03, 20.04, 21.11, or 25.11 against a person whose relationship to or association with the defendant is described by Section 71.0021(b), 71.003, or 71.005, Family Code; or (B) the offense is committed by intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of the person by applying pressure to the person's throat or neck or by blocking the person's nose or mouth;


What are the Punishments?

Family Violence case can be either Misdemeanors or Felonys. Often times, the penalties for family assault or domestic violence are harsher than would be normal for a standard assault. Domestic Violence offenses can often lead to jail time and a temporary or permanant loss of parental rights. There may also be a loss of Firearm Rights, and individuals on Probation will need to surrender all registered (and unregistered) firearms.


Penalties for Family Assault
Level of Offense Punishment
Class C Misdemeanor Not Jailable, No more than $500 fines
Class B Misdemeanor Not more than 180 days in a county jail, and/or no more than $2,000 fines
Class A Misdemeanor Not more than 1 year in a county jail, and/or no more than $4,000 fines
State jail felony 180 days to 2 years in a state jail, and/or no more than $10,000 fines
3rd Degree Felony 2-10 Years in Prison, and/or no more than $10,000 fines


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